The general definition of cosmetic dentistry is any dental work that improve the appearance of a person’s teeth. The term can also cover gums and bites. This improvement can come in a number of fashions, including colour, shape, size, cleanliness, alignment, position, smile, and more. In the modern world, appearance is everything and technological advancements have brought with them new trends and procedures. Teeth whitening and straightening are extremely popular, especially among young people who crave that shiny white, perfect smile.
Cosmetic dentistry in Melbourne is on the climb, but why is it so popular?
Why do people invest in cosmetic dentistry in Melbourne?
There are two main groups of people who undertake cosmetic dentistry, those who need it and those who want it. Some people are in need of dentistry such as braces to correct severe teeth positioning issues, while other people simply want to improve the aesthetics of their smile and the way it makes them feel. Cosmetic dentistry, for some, can improve self- confidence as much as losing weight, getting a make-over, or refreshing their wardrobe.
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Dental Cosmetic Procedures
There are a number of different procedures that fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. Essentially, any procedure that improves the look of someone’s teeth, gums, or bite can be classed under this term. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.
What does cosmetic dentistry include?
Whitening – This is by far the most common piece of cosmetic dentistry, increasing in popularity, particularly in the last ten years or so. The whitening process is also sometimes referred to as tooth bleaching. While tooth whitening kits and toothpaste can be purchased to use in the home, professional dentistry work starts with an appointment with a doctor to first evaluate whether the procedure is well-suited to the patient. It is also still recommended that people use cosmetic dentist-supervised treatments rather than over-the-counter products when it comes to dealing with discolouration. In some cases, the doctor may recommend a different process for the same desired effects, but whitening is effective for most people. It is also a very safe and quick way to achieve white teeth. The most effective form of teeth whitening is conducted via the use of lasers. In this process, the gums are covered with rubber before the cosmetic dentist applies a bleaching chemical to the teeth in question. An argon laser is then shone on the teeth to speed up the bleaching by activating the chemicals.
Reshaping – Some people chose to undergo tooth reshaping procedures if they are not happy with the shape of one tooth, multiple teeth, or the general size discrepancy within their mouth. In short, the teeth are resized to ensure that each and every one is symmetrical and even in both shape and length. The process involves the removal of parts of the tooth enamel to change the shape, however, this enamel is irreplaceable. In some circumstances, the reshaping procedure can even be used in place of braces. It is also referred to as stripping, contouring, odontoplasty, and enameloplasty.
Bonding – While reshaping involves stripping enamel away, bonding is the process of adding an enamel-like dental composite to the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist to sculpt the tooth into the desired perfect shape, before the substance hardens and can then be polished. For example, inlays and onlays can be used to repair cracked/damaged teeth.
Bridging – A dental bridge is essentially a replacement tooth or teeth. This process uses a bridge made up of abutments, preparing the teeth either side of the gap before cementing the replacement tooth in. The vast majority of bridges are fixed, meaning they cannot be removed in the way that dentures can. A bridge can be used to replace one, two, three, or even more teeth. Whether or not a bridge is a viable option often depends on where in the mouth the gap is located and how much stress those teeth would be under. The false teeth in these bridge processes are known as pontics. If a cosmetic dentist is dealing with the front teeth, or any other teeth under minimal stress, they may use a cantilever bridge, although these are more prone to failure. The average bridge will last around ten years, but people must commit to seriously high levels of oral hygiene to avoid risks.
Veneers – While many people falsely assume that veneers are full sets of fake teeth, they are actually more like laminate plates that are bonded directly to the front of a person’s existing teeth. The benefits to this are plentiful, including achieving a white colour without teeth whitening, closing gaps in the mouth, and changing the shape of the teeth. This process often also includes a reduction the size of the natural teeth. Cosmetic dentists often use mock-ups when it comes to veneer procedures, essentially using temporary veneers as guides for size, shape, and proportion, as well as giving the patient the chance to see and feel what they would be like.
Implants – These are direct prosthetic teeth replacements, split into three parts. First a titanium implant is inserted directly into the bone, then an abutment is attached, followed by a denture/dental crown.
Gum lifts – One of the more unusual procedures, gum lifts revolve around improving the aesthetic of the gum line, teeth length, and teeth symmetry. The procedure sculpts the gum line by reshaping tissue and bones to create this effect.
Straightening – This can come in the form of metal braces and/or retainers. Metal braces are fixed onto a patient’s teeth with metal wires, tightened upon each visit to change the positioning of said teeth. The general aim is to straighten them up over a period of time, which can take years. Some people are then given plastic moulds to wear after their brace treatment is finished, while others are given these retainers instead of braces. This mould keeps a person’s teeth in place in the correct position while the retainers are in. However, the retainers can be removed during mealtimes and some people only have to wear them at night while they sleep.
Bite reclamation – This is when a cosmetic dentist opens a person’s bite to add some extra vertical dimension to their teeth. This often comes after teeth grinding or acid reflux has left the patient’s teeth looking shorter than normal.
How much does cosmetic dentistry cost?
There are a number of different costs when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. Teeth whitening from a professional can cost $500, while do-it-yourself kits can be as cheap as a few dollars. A set of veneers can cost you up to $500-$1,300 per tooth. Dental bonding can cost $100- $400 per tooth, with crowns being around $500-$900. Dental impacts may set you back $1,250 to $3,000, while inlays/outlays can cost $650 to $1,200 per tooth. It all depends on the procedure you are taking, who is doing it, and how many teeth are involved.
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For the very best cosmetic dentists in Melbourne, contact the team at Stanley St. Dental. A dedicated team that know the true value of a beautiful smile, Dr Frank Nikakhtar and his team have years of experience in the cosmetic dental scene in Melbourne.